In 1996 a grain ship, “Bright Field,” was heading down the Mississippi River near New Orleans, when it lost control, veered toward the shore and crashed into a riverside shopping mall. The impact demolished parts of the wharf and injured 116 people. According to the Coast Guard investigation, the ship’s owner and crew had failed to repair long-standing engine problems. This is a clear example of not doing what you should do and receiving the consequences of bad decisions.

            The Devil deceived Eve into thinking that there would be no consequences for eating the forbidden fruit (Gen. 3:1-7). God said, “But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, ye shall not eat of it lest ye die” (v.3) The Devil said, “Ye shall not surely die.” (v.4) Eve dilly-dallied with the temptation and contemplated the possibilities that the Devil had suggested and threw away all restrain and ate the fruit!  Why?  The Devil deceived her into thinking that there would be no consequences for sin.

            The Devil continues to lie to us today and tells our society that a little sin won’t hurt, a little indulgence is not a problem, a little transgression will never hurt anybody! The Devil tells us that we are only human and go ahead and enjoy sin. The Bible says, “The way of the transgressor is hard.” ( Prov. 13:15)

            Our society believes that it can live in disobedience to God’s will by practicing homosexuality and never suffer the consequences. The scriptures teach that there will be consequences for our actions. “Be not deceived: God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth unto his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption: but he that soweth unto the spirit shall of the spirit reap eternal life.” (Gal. 6:7-8) This basic principle applies to the physical world and spiritual realm as well. The word, “mocked” is a Greek word (mukterizete:) which means to turn one’s nose up at God. The point is that if a person sows to the flesh (homosexuality and sinful living) and turns up his nose at God, he shall go the way of all flesh, -- die and face the judgment of God where there will be consequences. (reap destruction – Gal. 6:8)

The scriptures emphasize the consequences of sin in other verses. Ezekiel said, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ez. 18:4) Paul said, “The wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 6:23)  Over and over, again and again, the Bible under all circumstances, emphasizes that we reap what we sow and that sin is always followed by consequences.

            There is rebellion in the hearts and in the behavior of many people in our society today. In view of the fact that sin will always have consequences, what can we predict for the future? According to the basic law of sowing and reaping, the answer can best be given in the words of the prophet Hosea, “They sow the wind and they shall reap the whirlwind.” (Hos. 8:7) There is one time of sowing (while alive), and there will be two times of reaping. We reap in this life and also reap beyond this life in the hereafter. Sin brings forth its consequences both here and hereafter.

            People may do things without realizing the consequences of their actions, but one day there is going to be an accounting! (Rev. 21:8)                                                                                                                                                                                           

THE "ME-ISM" CULTURE by Earl Sutton

We are now living in a “me-ism” culture, one preoccupied with self. Pleasing self seems to be the number-one priority in our world today. Our young people are growing up with a warped sense of entitlement which prompts them to demand, “I want what I want when I want it.”

            Rampant me-ism has significantly affected the climate of our morals in our society. Young people today simply don’t view morality and values as did people only a few generations ago. So many of our young people today under 25 don’t believe homosexuality is sinful and see little reason to judge their friends’ actions.

            Today, young people view the highest of human values and experiences is personal satisfaction and pleasure. They feel that their “needs” must be met and the bigger the pleasure the better off they are. There is a constant desire for greater and more effective stimulation, leading to a constant pursuit of instant gratification.

            The tragic fact is that me-ism (selfishness) is not exclusively the problem of young people! According to Webster, selfishness is “caring unduly or supremely for oneself, regarding one’s own comfort or advantage in disregard or at the expense of others.”

            Throughout the Old and New Testaments, there are teachings against me-ism (selfishness). Perhaps the most effective way to point out the depth of this problem is to remember that six of the ten commandments are directed primarily against the sins of me-ism (selfishness) (Exodus 20). For example, Commandment Number Five says, “Honor thy father and thy mother.” This commandment primarily emphasizes the fact that young people are prone to think too much of themselves and their own judgments and too little of their parents.

            Commandment Number Six says, “Thou shalt not kill.” Killing is simply disregarding the basic right of someone else to life itself. Simply put, abortion takes a life that God has created, a living human being, and casts it away; because it will be inconvenient for the birth mother! Commandment Number Seven says, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Committing adultery is a sin not only against God but against the other person. It is a willingness to degrade another person in order to gratify one’s own physical lust. It is an act of selfishness.

            Commandment Number Eight says, “Thou shalt not steal.” Obviously stealing is a selfish disregard for the right of someone else concerning property.

            Commandment Number Nine says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness,” which again is selfishness. It means a willingness to lie against another person to suit one’s own purposes.

            The last in the list of the ten commandments is, “Thou shalt not covet,” which means to have an inordinate desire for what belongs to another. My point here is that six of the ten commandments are really commandments against me-ism (selfishness) (Exodus 20).

            A classic example in the Old Testament is the story of Solomon (Eccles. 2:4-11). Notice the personal pronouns and how he emphasized the I, me, my, mine along with his own testimony that a self-centered life does not pay off in happiness and satisfaction.

            The classic example in the New Testament is the story of the Rich Fool (Luke 12:13-21). All his thinking was about himself. It is I, me, my and mine. His failure, in spite of all his great material success, can be traced to two outstanding sins, greed and me-ism (self-centered living). Let us learn from the examples of Solomon and the Rich Fool and resolve to put more emphasis upon the moral and spiritual values of life and give less attention to material things which will perish with the using (Matthew 6:19-21).